A Cleveland job bank founder has been criticized after her rejection email replies to young job seekers went viral.
Kelly Blazek, who co-founded the Cleveland Jobs Bank, became the subject of harsh criticism online after sending a hurtful LinkedIn message to someone looking to connect with her.
The woman who published the message online, Diana Mekota, a graduate of John Carroll University in Rochester, N.Y., contacted Blazek on LinkedIn asking to join the job bank list and summarized her qualifications, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
Mekota says she got this reply:
“We have never met. We have never worked together. You are quite young and green on how business connections work with senior professionals. Apparently you have heard that I produce a Job Bank, and decided it would be stunningly helpful for your career prospects if I shared my 960+ LinkedIn connections with you – a total stranger who has nothing to offer me.
“Your invite to connect is inappropriate, beneficial only to you, and tacky,” the email continued. “Wow, I cannot wait to let every 25-year-old jobseeker mine my top-tier marketing connections to help them land a job. Love the sense of entitlement in your generation. And therefore I enjoy denying your invite, and giving you the dreaded ‘I Don’t Know’ [scribbled-out name] because it’s the truth.
“Oh, and about your request to actually receive my Job Bank along with the 7,300 other subscribers to my service? That’s denied, too. I suggest you join the other Job Bank in town. Oh wait – there isn’t one.” The email ends with “Don’t ever write me again.”
Mekota told the Plain Dealer she was shocked at first, so she emailed Blazek again, but she didn’t reply. So she began sharing the message with friends.
“I decided, with the attention and anger it was fueling, it would be best to share with sites like imgur and reddit,” she said.
Blazek was honored as “2013 Communicator of the Year” by the Cleveland Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators.
“Blazek is not just a headhunter or a recruiter, but a senior communications executive who enjoys helping others in the profession,” the IABC said in a statement announcing the award. It noted that “her listserv is one of the largest individually produced employment compilations in the country within the marketing and communications field.”
However, once her emails to Mekota began circulating online on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites, people started demanding that IABC rescind the award. They also called Blazek’s emails “arrogant” and Blazek “an embarrassment.”
Blazek issued an apology in an email to the Plain Dealer: “I am very sorry to the people I have hurt.
“Creating and updating the Cleveland Job Bank listings has been my hobby for more than ten years. It started as a labor of love for the marketing industry, but somehow it also became a labor, and I vented my frustrations on the very people I set out to help.”
She added: “My Job Bank listings were supposed to be about hope, and I failed that. In my harsh reply notes, I lost my perspective about how to help, and I also lost sight of kindness, which is why I started the Job Bank listings in the first place. The note I sent to Diana was rude, unwelcoming, unprofessional and wrong. I am reaching out to her to apologize. Diana and her generation are the future of this city. I wish her all the best in landing a job in this great town.”
She had deleted her Twitter account and blog within hours of receiving criticism.
Rick Uldricks, another job-seeker, has come forward to WJW-TV, saying he had received the same treatment from Blazek.
“I suggest you join the other Job Bank in town. Oh - guess what. There isn’t one. Done with this conversation, and you,” Blazek told him in an email. She has since apologized to Uldricks.
“This was never a personal attack simply because I was turned down. More than anything, it was about the fact that this senior professional was treating young professionals like this, in a time when it's already difficult to find a job,” Mekota said.
“Since this story became so viral, I have heard from hundreds of people in the Cleveland area. Their reaction has been worth all of this. Knowing that people in the Cleveland area are excited for 'boomerangs' and young professionals is the best homecoming I could ask for,” she added. Mekota said she has accepted Blazek's apology and tweeted this:
#CLE is amazing, thank you all! Would like to let you know Kelly Blazek has sent a very nice apology email, for which I thank her.
— Diana Mekota (@PettieBettie) February 25, 2014